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Kolomyia Museum Visited with Students

Ukrainian students are very proud of their heritage and gladly visited the Kolomyia Museum of Hutsul Folk Art with me. Next week they will write articles on the artifacts. This will be especially helpful to me since the tour guide spoke only Ukrainian. I’ll give you a quick tour with minimal explanation (with all that I know!).

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Friendly People Who Live Behind Fences

I don’t think I’ve met kinder, more generous people than Ukrainians. But I wonder why such a friendly and charitable society would live their personal lives behind fences. Whether the home is large and ornate or tiny and somewhat ramshackle, it will be fronted by a fence. Some of the fences are also large and ornate and some are barely standing, but no home is without one (at least not in the neighborhood where I’m living).

Some of the reasons I’ve been told are to keep the families’ dogs and chickens from roaming, but also to keep burglars from entering. Whether it’s for protection or privacy, these fences add interest and beauty to the streets they line. See for yourself:

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Pizza and Politics

My greatest challenge has not been teaching (sometimes four or more of the same class in one day) ; it’s been the bureaucracy of this country. The visa I had to have to enter the country was only good for a limited time and another document must be processed by Monday, March 21. So far it’s required two trips to the county seat and being sent here and there to pay fees–almost 700 hryvnia.  $1 is currently equal to about 27 hryvnia (okay, it was only about $27 but since the average Ukrainian earns 1,600 hyyvnia a month, this is a lot of money). It’s not just the money that’s so frustrating; it’s the changing requirements that make it so difficult to comply. Peace Corps has sent volunteers to this region in the past; therefore, they thought they knew what would be required. But no, we needed seven additional documents. I have to go back Monday to pick up the document (Posvidka)–if it’s been processed. It was promised, so I’m trying to be confident I will still be in Ukraine after Monday. If not, at least I’ve tried New York Pizza in Ukraine.

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Scenes from 1st Week in Kolomyia (my home for the next 10 months)

After I was sworn in as a PC Respons volulteer by the country director, I immediately boarded a train to Kolomyia (a 14 hour ride.)  Walk with me starting at  my new home,. We'll see the city center, bazaar, some commemorative statues along the way and even view trains passing near the station.

After I was sworn in as a PC Response volunteer by the country director, I immediately boarded a train to Kolomyia (a 14 hour ride.)
Walk with me starting at my new home,. We’ll see the city center, bazaar, some commemorative statues along the way; we’ll stop at the Pedagogical College where I’ll be teaching, and even view trains passing near the station.

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